Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disorder that usually results in unpredictable, patchy hair loss. It is associated with multiple comorbidities and shares a similar inflammatory signature with dementia. The great negative psychosocial impact of AA may result in poor social engagement, a typical risk factor for dementia. However, little is known about the association between AA and dementia. 

Patients with AA were more likely to develop any dementia, and unspecified dementia than the control cohort. Stratification analysis by age and sex revealed increased risks of any dementia and unspecified dementia in both age groups (ie, < 65 and ≥ 65 years) and both sex groups and increased risks of AD in male patients and in those with age at dementia onset ≥ 65 years. Sensitivity analyses after exclusion of the first year or first 3 years of observation showed consistent findings.

In summary, patients with AA had a higher risk of developing dementia. Further studies are needed to elucidate the underlying pathophysiology between AA and dementia risk.

Li CY, Tai YH, Dai YX, Chang YT, Bai YM, Tsai SJ, Chen TJ, Chen MH. Association of Alopecia Areata and the Risk of Dementia: A Nationwide Cohort Study. J Clin Psychiatry. 2021 Oct 26;82(6):21m13931. doi: 10.4088/JCP.21m13931. PMID: 34705346.

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